BookLife Talks with Tam DeRudder Jackson
A sponsored Q&A with the author of the Talisman series
Jackson achieved her longtime goal of becoming a writer with Talisman, the first book in her Talisman series. With book four, Bard, out now, Jackson is thankful to her team and for the time she invested in learning the craft of writing, which enables her to create books that aren’t “your everyday romance reads.”
How did you land on Celtic mythology as a basis for your Talisman series?
My interest in Celtic mythology arises from my love affair with the Arthurian legends, which originate with the Celts. I taught in Bath, England; studied at Cambridge; and have traveled extensively throughout the U.K. I never pass up an opportunity to spend time there, especially in Scotland and England. I love the people, the history, and the inventive use of language employed by English, Irish, Scots, and Welsh speakers. They have so much fun with words, which arises from the Celtic tradition’s riddles and stories and outclassing of one another with a well-turned phrase.
What prompted you to leave your teaching career and focus on authorial pursuits?
Being an author was a lifelong goal, one I planned ahead for in order to reach. While I truly loved teaching, I was always going to leave the classroom to write. When the opportunity arrived to write full time, I grabbed it. I’d already written several drafts of the first two books in my series, which made the transition from teaching to writing natural.
As Bard is the fourth book you’ve written, has your writing process changed since your first book?There are so many fine writing coaches out there, and I’ve learned a few things through taking workshops with them and reading their craft books. Also, my editor, Nikki Busch, has helped me improve my work tremendously. I drafted Talisman 13 times before I was satisfied with it. Bard needed only eight drafts. The last book in the series required four. As I’ve gained experience, I’ve streamlined my writing process. Discovering the Pomodoro Technique was huge for me as well. Using this method has helped me write faster and cleaner from the outset, so I don’t need as many drafts before I’m satisfied with the book.
What is the one thing you most want to tell readers, booksellers, publishers, or agents about you or your book?
The books in the Talisman series are contemporary takes on Celtic mythology and story. Themes of overcoming prejudice to reach one’s potential, doing the right thing especially when it’s difficult, and finding love beyond surface expectations resonate throughout my books. Fantasy readers will enjoy them as much as romance readers will. Reviewers love the worldbuilding and the characters. Readers tell me they enjoy the mythology and that I make them feel like they’re right there in the action. What I didn’t expect when I released these books is the positive response from older male readers who truly love them. So the one thing I’d say about my books is they’re not your everyday romance reads.
When can readers expect the next book in the Talisman series?
Druid, book five, will release on Sept. 20, 2020. Fans are saying they hope the series never ends. Several readers have given me new ideas for continuing the books beyond Druid. We’ll see what happens. I’d like to give a shout-out to three people who make my words look good: Maria at Steamy Designs, who designed all the covers for the series; Nikki Busch, my editor; and Chrissy at Damonza, who created the interior design and formatted the books. Thank you